Four Key CJRC Presentations Remain in the Spring of 2017

February 13, 2017

Criminal Justice Research Center Institute for Excellence in Justice presents Criminal Records, Spillovers, and the Growing Stickiness of Public Labels featuring Dr. Christopher Uggen is the Regents Professor and Martindale Chair in Sociology and Law at the University of Minnesota.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

Martin Luther King Lounge, Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Arts Center, 154 W. 12th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210

Contemporary criminology offers compelling evidence that the distinction between “criminal” and “non-criminal” is largely a matter of time. Yet crime discourse and policy remain rooted in the notion of criminality as an immutable individual characteristic. This talk contrasts the fluidity in criminal behavior with the growing stickiness of public labels, drawing from experimental studies of criminal records on work and school outcomes, demographic analysis of changes in the population bearing such records, and their spillover effects on health care and other institutions. After summarizing some classic and emerging U.S. policy interventions, I conclude by discussing the Obama legacy for crime and justice and prospects for the future. Chris Uggen is Regents Professor and Martindale Chair in Sociology and Law at the University of Minnesota. He studies crime, law, and justice, firm in the belief that sound research can help build a more just and peaceful world. With Jeff Manza, he wrote Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy, and his writing on felon voting, work and crime, and harassment and discrimination is frequently cited in media such as the New York Times, The Economist, and NPR. Current projects include a comparative study of reentry from different types of institutions, sexual harassment and employment discrimination, crime and justice after genocide, monetary sanctions, and the health effects of incarceration. His outreach and engagement projects include editing Contexts Magazine and The Society (both with Doug Hartmann), a book series and multimedia social science hub drawing one million readers per month. He is the incoming Vice President of the American Sociological Association and a fellow of the American Society of Criminology.


The Criminal Justice Research Center Presents “Down, Out and Under Arrest: Policing and Everyday Life among the Urban Poor” Featuring Professor Forrest Stuart Assistant Professor of Sociology

University of Chicago

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

The Ohio State University, 038 Townshend Hall, 1885 Neil Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210

Over the last four decades, the United States has witnessed historic expansions of its criminal justice system. This aggressive form of criminalization has, in turn, transformed the cultural contexts of poor urban communities. Fieldwork data gathered in premier sites of intensive policing—Los Angeles’ Skid Row and Chicago’s south side—reveal that criminalized residents develop and deploy a particular cultural frame—what I term “cop wisdom”—by which they render seemingly-random police activity more legible, predictable, and manipulable. Armed with this interpretive schema, “copwise” residents engage in new forms of self-presentation in public, movement through the daily round, and informal social control in order to deflect police scrutiny and forestall street stops. While these techniques may enable some residents to reduce unwanted police contact, this benefit often comes at the expense of individual and collective well-being by precluding social interaction, exacerbating stigma, and contributing to animosity in public space.


To Police and be Policed: Multiple Perspectives on Racialized Law Enforcement in a Diverse and Changing City featuring Akwasi Owusu-Bempah 
Assistant Professor, Department of Socioilogy, University of Toronto, Misswissauga

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Townshend Hall, Room 038

Despite official claims of tolerance and inclusion, Toronto’s Black population has a historically tenuous relationship with the city’s law enforcement agencies.  This study addresses how distrust of the police and notions of Black criminality are mutually sustained and reproduced through police encounters with Black citizens.  Prior research has documented the myriad ways in which the police serve to subjugate and control Black populations.  Previous research has also highlighted the importance of fair treatment in shaping citizens’ perceptions of police (and state) legitimacy.  Very little, however, has simultaneously incorporated the perspectives of those on both sides of “the thin blue line.” Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, this study draws on interview and survey data with police officers and civilians to untangle the intricate relationship between race, policing, citizenship and state authority.  The findings illustrate that both police officers and Black citizens act in ways that run counter to their own interests during their often hostile and confrontational encounters.  Such encounters contribute to the erosion of police legitimacy and to the criminalization of race/racialization of crime. The findings provide support for a methodological approach to the study of racial inequality that is attentive to the multiple perspectives of the actors involved.


The Criminal Justice Research Center presents the 28th Annual Walter C. Reckless - Simon Dinitz Memorial Lecture featuring Professor Valerie Jenness presenting "I Just Want What is Fair: Prisoners, Justice and Legitimacy"

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

The Ohio State University, Barrister Club, 25 West 11th Avenue Columbus, OH 43201 (Located across 11th Avenue from Drinko Hall and above Panera Bread)

Social scientists have long investigated the social, cultural, and psychological forces that shape perceptions of fairness. A vast literature on procedural justice advances a central finding: the process by which a dispute is played out is central to people’s perceptions of fairness, their satisfaction with dispute outcomes, and their attributions of legitimacy. There is, however, one glaring gap in the literature. In this era of mass incarceration, studies of the attitudes of the incarcerated are strikingly rare. This article addresses this gap by drawing on unique quantitative and qualitative data to unpack the complicated nature of perceptions of fairness and justice in the prison context. These data are comprised of 1) face-to-face interviews with a random sample of men incarcerated in three California prisons; 2) a random sample of officially processed California prisoner grievances; and 3) official data provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Our mixed-methods analysis reveals that, in contrast to findings from the procedural justice scholarship, these prisoners privilege the outcomes of disputes—rather than the process—as their barometer of justice, so much so that a favorable outcome drives their assessment of how fair the process was. This finding holds among both Black and White prisoners—racial groups that in other contexts have consistently been shown to have diverse experiences with and perceptions of the criminal justice system. We argue that the precedence of actual outcomes in these men’s perceptions of fairness and in their dispute satisfaction is grounded in, among other things, the high stakes of the prison context, an argument that is confirmed by our data. Finally, we reveal that although inmates often perceive officials to be untrustworthy and their decisions to be unfair, this does not undermine the legitimacy of the rule of law or the formal protocols and institutions that undergird it, which appears to be more robust than some scholars have feared. Most broadly, these findings show the power of institutional context to structure perceptions of and responses to fairness, one of the most fundamental organizing principles of social life.

Speaker:  Professor Valerie Jenness, Department of Criminology, Law and Society, University of California - Irvine

Valerie Jenness, Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine, was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016 and, prior to that, she was a Senior Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan in 2015. She served as Dean of the School of Social Ecology from 2009 to 2015 and Chair of the Department of Criminology, Law and Society from 2001-2006.  Her research has focused on prostitution, hate crime, and prison violence and grievances to explore the links between deviance and social control, the politics of crime control, social movements and social change, and corrections and public policy. She is the author of four books and many articles published in sociology, law, and criminology journals.   She has been honored with awards from the American Sociological Association, Society for the Study of Social Problems, the Pacific Sociological Association, the American Society of Criminology, the Law and Society Association, the Western Society of Criminology, the University of California, and the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.  Professor Jenness has served as an elected member of various professional committees and councils and she has served as an expert witness in civil litigation related to conditions of confinement in government run detention facilities.